This month is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and it’s “How To Decorate Your Patio” time again! Despite the pandemic and protest marches, we are still here doing what we do: obsessing over a home shelter/food/crafting magazine as if it were the end-all, be-all of American experience. But we know we are not saving the world, and that this is all just design. If it makes you happy–and you are privileged enough to have a home to decorate, more power to you. Unlike the magazine, we are not changing our format, though we lament the replacement of the Throwback with the new Stylemaker back page. We taped this on what came to be known as Blackout Tuesday, and oh! the irony! of a paint can lid section devoted to WHITE paint! More white walls are only slightly offset by a rainbow-hued napkin and painted rock tableau. We puzzle over the plans for a kitchen makeover with both a peninsula and an island, and ponder the implications of building a big black box in your front yard. Happy Pride Month, everyone! Signature cocktails: strawberry mint lemon-orangeade cooler, and a “Lilac’s Lament,” a lilac-infused vodka drink with nectarines. Music by Bensound.com. End credits by Ramon.
In our May 2020 episode, we are still under a “Safer At Home” mandate in our home state of New York and so we recorded this episode via Zoom video conference once again. We each make our own signature cocktail: J. does a classic vodka gimlet, partially inspired by the lemon curd tart on the cover of the May 2020 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, while Rob pulls a recipe for ginger punch from the mag’s new Stylemaker column. May means Mother’s Day so we cover a few ideas for a special Sunday for ya mom, and Rob invents a new tag to discuss certain magazine features. Of course, depending on where you are in the country, you may have to stay socially distant from your mother. Especially if, like Rob’s mom, she mispronounces the word “peony” because you may be tired of correcting her. We notice a few changes at work in the magazine, including transitions from our usual tableaux and paint can lids, and need to mourn the loss of other features. But we’ll get over it. There are more important concerns in the world right now, right? Like “why does my husband want a door from our shower to the balcony?” (PS we have a theory about that one.) Music by Bensound.com. End credits by Tim Lawton. Stay healthy, dear listeners!
The water is hot and the ‘bags are already in the cup. It’s time to brew some fresh tea–for TRUTH–with the ten designers offering up their take on “what trends need to disappear forever” in this article on Architectural Digest PRO.
Cohost J. agrees with these experts on:
- Macrame’ – I tried it and returned it to the store. Nope!
- Matchy-matchy furniture
- Waterfall countertops – everywhere and now overdone
- Barn doors – waaaay overdone, and as pointed out, they do not provide any sound barrier so do NOT install one as a bathroom door!
- Accent walls – I’m iffy on this one. They can work, especially if you’re on a budget or in a rental, but a lot of people use them as their decorating default and then stop there.
- Cute neon signs – ubiquitous on Instagram, but never seen IRL (at least, in the Hudson Valley. So when I do see one it will be super outdated.)
- Granite countertops – so 2000’s.
- Mosaic glass backsplashes – so 2000’s Home Depot.
I’m still OK with:
- Edison light bulbs – cute! but in the right settings
- I just don’t know what Robert Couturier is getting at by saying: “Contemporary art collections that have been accumulated with ears rather than eyes.”
This is no shock to our listeners, but I would also add in:
- hanging chairs
- indoor swings
- white on white interiors
- white and rustic wood and more freakin’ white
- ghost chairs
- millenial pink anything
But at least a few of these design pros have validated some of our tags for hate!
In this episode: Deception! Lies! Big baskets! Secrets revealed! But even those might be another deception. As Rob pours Kentucky Derby mint juleps made gayer with lavender and berries, J. digs up memories of a childhood dinner gone horribly wrong. (This is the Food Issue, after all.) We discuss what charities really want (NOT your #KonMari non-joyful items), how no one wants Grandma’s silver trays any more, an instant classic color scheme, and another hot male gardener. (Brace yourselves for that one.) Plus, a house that’s nautical but not, kitchen countertops that Rob and J. both tag for hate, and the best I Did It yet. Signature cocktail: mint julep. Recipe tasting: five flavors of cold-oven chicken. Music by Bensound.com. Please, don’t make your mother cry.
Co-host Rob here. If you’ve listened to any of our podcasts, set foot in my house, or had me refuse to wash my hands with Pumpkin Spice hand soap in the middle of July at your house then you know I’m a stickler for seasonally appropriate home fragrances. The one season people seem most challenged to find a good home fragrance is Winter.
NO! It is not OK to leave your Sparkling Christmas Snow hand soap out for guests to use in February!
Before you default to almond or honey or heaven forbid lavender in the Winter months take a whiff of Stonewall Kitchen’s Maine Woods Home Keeping line. Earthy, rich, but not heavy, it’s now my go-to home fragrance post-holidays. Bonus points for supporting an LGBTQ-owned company with a commitment to charitable giving.
Cohost J. here. BHG reposted an article from Real Simple that quoted a study first published by SousVideGuy.com about kitchen and appliances. There’s lots of interesting data in that study (people love their Big Green Egg grills; some people spend $15 on meat thermometers) but the one fact that got my Andrew Christians in a twist is that Keurig is America’s favorite kitchen brand.
Full disclosure: a brand of my family earned their fortune at Green Mountain Coffee, which owns Keurig. But none of that fortune dripped down to me (get it?) so who cares.
I’m not a fan of Keurig machines and K-Cups. Super-simple to use, but to me they crank out crappy, barely warm coffee and most of the Cups are horrible for the environment. Unless you use the refillable ones, which are of course far less convenient–in which case I’d rather just make a regular pot o’ coffee.
To add insult to injury, kitchen and workplace break room counters across the land sprouted all those cheap, ugly K-Cup holders: the spinning racks, the slide-out drawers…another ugh. I want less clutter in the kitchen, not more thoughtlessly-designed junk.
So keep your non-compostable-packaged dishwater pods to yourself. I’m going to brew some “rocket fuel” as my mother-in-law calls my homebrewed drip coffee.
Welcome to Season Two of Could Be Better! If a certain #1* magazine is still pumpin’ out issues, we’re still pumpin’ out episodes. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Rob brews up a red signature cocktail to get your blood racing: a Mid-Hudson Mule. They do pack a kick, because it takes us about three sips to start talking dirty about the February issue. Though lacy envelopes don’t do it for us, we do fall for a white-on-white room (don’t worry, it’s a guest space so it’s OK), a kitchen makeover, an I Did It feature (at last, hallelujah), and hand pies. Cupid’s arrow misses the mark on windowsill gardening, and one space may send Rob to therapy. Will your favorite looks get a tag for love, or a tag for hate? Listen in and find out! Signature cocktail: Mid-Hudson Mule. Recipe tastings coming soon to our YouTube channel: coconut curry short ribs and hand pies. Music by Bensound.com.
*If you discount two AARP publications, Better Homes & Gardens has the widest subscription base in America. So it’s actually #3 in the US but c’mon…AARP magazines?
In our September episode, we plant the seeds for fall with a new focus on decor. (Foodies, don’t worry: check out our YouTube channel for our monthly recipe tastings). Rob mixes up a signature cocktail inspired by this BH&G issue’s global flair (a Chocolate Spice martini) but J’s excited by this month’s Editor’s Letter: cue another dramatic reading!
In this Stylemaker issue, white walls reign supreme, purple is a neutral, citrine green and peacock blue are “it” shades, kitchens suffer from visual clutter, and there’s nary an “I Did It” nor a craft project in sight. Plus, we throw more shade in Waco’s general direction. Pour yourself a drink, open your magazine and join us for another intimate conversation about design trends (#tagforhate). After all, it’s just decorating. Signature cocktail: Chocolate Spice martini.
Recipes: Oat-Chia Bars, French Chocolate Mousse. All music: Bensound.com. End credits: Tim Lawton.
In this bonus episode we’re featuring two segments from our July 2018 episode taping that didn’t make the cut (because we can’t stop blabbing). These are a little more design-y in nature, and they share a few common themes: white on white (on white) kitchens, “rustic” wood and a little more womp-womp talk about our least favorite big-name designer (guess who). Plus, Rob picks out a decor trick that he knows J. will totally, totally hate…and he’s right. Watch the feed for our August 2018 episode coming soon! Now go paint your front door pink!
This episode is extraaaah! Here are two segments that didn’t make it into the main May episode: our convo about the Before & After segment, and a featured food article (with gorgeous wallpaper-worthy pics by Con Poulos). The main theme of these two “cut” bits. Call us the Hardy Boys, because we finally solved the mystery of why most men photographed for the magazine have to untuck their button-down shirts. Plus: stacked tiles, tulip tables, naked vegetables, and the first “fancy” wine that Rob picked out to impress his friends. Look for more full episodes coming soon or check out the back catalog on our feed, and subscribe today to get episodes as soon as we release them. Please review us on iTunes and tell your friends to give us a listen, too. Get it all (including behind-the-scenes videos) at CouldBeBetterPodcast.com. Now go tuck in your shirt!